A client was telling me about significant turnover in this one position within their company. It turns out that once they hired the position the candidates couldn’t really do the job or were a really bad fit to the company. I asked questions about the hiring process and he basically felt that his manager wasn’t good at identifying talent.
This position was crucial for company, but not a high level position that the owner himself would recruit.
My comment was that we need to help the hiring manager become good at hiring. Obviously, once you grow, there will be a point at which the owner of the company will not be able to do all of the recruiting for the company. Hiring is a skill like anything else, but tools help too.
Three things that will help your managers, and even you, hire the perfect fit for your position and your team are:
- A well thought out job description.
- A list of qualifications for the ideal candidate.
- A description of your culture or list of the company’s core values.
One of our services at Crossroads is recruiting for clients. We have years and years of recruiting experience in our team. Even with experience, the first thing we do is ask for this information. If it isn’t developed, we work with the owner and manager to develop these foundational tools first. [If you need help with this, contact us at 225-341-4147.]
Let’s go over the specifics of each of these:
A key need for strong hiring is a well thought out job description. I say well thought out because most small business owners will put minimal detail into a job description. If hiring an administrative assistant they will say they need someone who can handle administrative duties. An accountant will need to have bookkeeping experience.
Without more detail, it is difficult to interview a candidate and determine if their experience and skills will be adequate to perform the job. A well thought out job description will include specific areas of responsibility and key tasks that may go along with this responsibility. It will include things like type of tools, software, or equipment that they will be responsible for using in their job.
Purpose of job description in hiring: Now the manager can ask questions to see if the candidate has been responsible for the specific areas outlined in the job description. They can measure the experience and/or education they have against the tasks required and the tools they need to be proficient in.
Candidate Qualifications for the Job
Most employment ads will include a list of qualifications that the ideal candidate will have. This includes more details about the depth and breadth of their experience/education. Things like:
- # of years of experience
- Specific education or training required
- Experience with specific equipment, tools, etc.
- Key skill areas like mechanical, communication, artistic. (depending on the type of job)
Purpose of qualifications in hiring: These qualifications on an employment ad will hopefully weed out candidates that are not qualified, but as you have probably experienced, many people apply anyway. Having these requirements gives the manager interviewing a compass to guide the interview to be able to assess this depth of credentials.
When I first started my business I knew I would have no time for training someone and I didn’t have anyone else to train. This required me to hire people with more experience who would need minimal training and may actually be able to enhance how I was doing things in certain areas. This seems counter-intuitive. As a small business owner we want our first hire to be inexpensive but if they are also inexperienced, they will not meet the needs of the position. So, I had to step out in faith and hire a more seasoned aka expensive person, however, they made a positive impact right away.
This one is a little more esoteric, but never the less critical. You have heard over and over again the phrase “do you have the right people on the bus and are they in the right seat”. If they do not fit your culture, they shouldn’t even be on the bus. Talent or not, if the candidate doesn’t share the values of your business, they will not work out long term. Especially in a small business where every position is critical and makes up a large percentage of your workforce.
The best way to begin to define your company’s culture is to make a list of your core values. For example, if a core value of your business is to stay cutting edge with technology and you have a candidate that is resistant to change, they will not likely be comfortable staying up on a constant updating of tools and resources in the company. You could hire an administrative assistant who has 30 years of administration experience and uses current office technology and think, “How could I go wrong?” But the candidate may have started when there was minimal computer program choices and stayed on the same system their whole career. As a company who is constantly changing and adding better automation resources, this candidate may be completely resistant to change.
If your company is customer-centric, hiring someone who is not a people person in a customer-centric role may be a poor fit, even if they have the skills to do the work.
Purpose of culture in hiring: This is a great opportunity to use behavioral interview questions to learn about specific experiences that will shed light on a person’s values and help determine if the candidate will fit with your culture. This is also an area that you may want to have a long-term employee, who is a perfect fit with your culture, join the interview process. They may not be the hiring manager, however, they can offer insight into whether or not the candidate would fit the culture.
Utilizing Tools in the Interviewing and Recruiting Process
If you are not seasoned in hiring new team members, or you have a manager who has made past hiring mistakes, consider how these tools would help improve the quality of the hires.
Now the hiring manager can be accountable to hiring people that at a minimum:
- Have the education and experience required to do the actual role they are being hired for. And the hiring manager now has a guide to develop specific questions for the candidate that will show examples of having actual experience in the area of responsibility.
- Are at the level needed upon hire to handle the responsibilities required day 1. Some companies can afford a 90 day training program, others need the candidate to teach the company. Knowing what level of experience and training is required gives them a benchmark to shoot for in comparing candidates.
- Placing emphasis on culture, reminds the hiring manager that the person needs to be a good fit with the company and the team. That matters. Sometimes it matters most.
Not only do these tools make for a better interview, now you have a framework to compare candidates to each other and you have direction of information you need from references. You can now check with references to see if the person has done the work, meets the qualifications, and matches the culture.
These tools also help the new employee know what is expected of them once they start. These are foundational tools to building a strong team.